Zain Khalil / Anatolia
The American newspaper “The Times” chose the twins Mona and Muhammad Al-Kurd, 23, from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, among the 100 most influential people in the world for the year 2021.
The newspaper said, on Wednesday, that the two Kurdish brothers, through participations on the Internet and appearances in the media, provided the world with a “window on living under occupation in East Jerusalem.”
Mona and Muhammad’s activities helped to bring about an international shift in discourse regarding Israel and Palestine, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper added: “For more than a decade, the Al-Kurd family has struggled with dozens of their neighbors in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood against the possibility of their homes being forcibly evicted by Israeli settlers.”
And she continued: “In May, tensions in Sheikh Jarrah spread to the Old City of Jerusalem, where Israeli forces attacked worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Hamas activists in Gaza responded by firing rockets into Israel.”
She said that Muhammad and Mona, who were briefly detained by the Israeli authorities this summer, challenged narratives about Palestinian resistance through publications and interviews, in which they responded to allegations that the violence was predominantly by Palestinians.
According to the newspaper, the two Kurdish brothers had charismatic and daring personalities, and became the most famous voice for those threatened with losing their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
Muhammad and Mona al-Kurd helped inspire the Palestinian diaspora to resume protests against Israel, and in the United States, Israel’s long-standing staunch ally, opinion polls show growing support for Palestinians.
Since she was twelve years old, Mona and her twin, Muhammad, began documenting settlers’ attempts to seize homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
And in early June, the Israeli police arrested the twins, Mona and Muhammad, on charges of “carrying out acts that disturb order and peace and riotous acts”, before releasing them, in light of broad solidarity with them inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Palestinians say that Israel is working to Judaize the occupied city of Jerusalem and obliterate its Arab Palestinian identity.
They cling to East Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state, based on international legitimacy resolutions, which do not recognize Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967, nor its annexation in 1981.
The selection of the Kurds came along with leading figures and leaders of countries in the world, including Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping, American Joe Biden and Iranian Ibrahim Raisi, and the head of the Taliban’s political bureau, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.